Joachim Stroink has left Halifax six times. The last time, he was on top of a mountain when he had an epiphany that Halifax was where he needed to be.
"The Trail Shop has been in business for 43 years," he says. "I bought it, going on year five." The Trail Shop has just opened a new location in Wolfville, offering the same collection of the best outdoor apparel and equipment. "We've grown our business substantially in the past five years, and I do believe that it's the way we do business that has made us independently successful."
One of the things Stroink points out is how his business can appeal to such a wide range of customers and ages. "My wife's great-aunt has a North Face jacket, she's 92. We please the whole gamut, so everybody feels comfortable here."
Stroink attributes the shop's success to service. "The Trail Shop was always known for its service, but we grew and expanded on that, going the extra mile. The flipside is we don't do a ton of advertising, but we do a phenomenal amount of community projects and involvement, putting our face in the community. Big stores don't do that, they aren't able to make the snap decisions—it has to go all the way up the board."
The Trail Shop keeps up with fellow indie Quinpool businesses Cyclesmith and Aerobics First to discuss where they overlap, to the point of cost-sharing on placing shipping orders, and using plastic bags with all three logos on them.
Besides a community commitment—manifested in this summer's Great Canadian Backyard Campout, 120 people camping overnight in the moat at Citadel Hill—Stroink also stresses environmental awareness. His business card is plantable, laced with dill seed. "If you use your imagination," he says, "you can do whatever you want here."